Although the Victorian era as a period of revivals struggles quite hard to find an identity all of its own when it comes to antique furniture, its enthusiasm to embrace any type, era and design of furniture, then mass produce it to cater for a growing market creates an era of breathtaking energy and diversity. The most popular furniture exhibits at the Great Exhibition in 1851 were the ones that showed the most ostentatious pieces, yet the severest critiques of Victoriana generally saw these pieces as being particularly dishonest.
What critics of the period missed, or just did not like to admit, was the overwhelming desires of most Victorians to be as conspicuous and largesse in their choice of furnishings as they could possibly be. During the period, much in the way of heavy carving, exotic wood veneering, gilding, and embossing were reintroduced into many hybrid versions of eras and styles to create very particular pieces of furniture which could only have been made for Victorian tastes and still stand out today as pieces of Victorian fantasy.
As well as global influences, historicism was also embedded in the Victorian psyche where manufacturers were able to cherry pick influences from Ancient Greece and Rome, Egypt, Persia and India, and flaunt poetic licence to create often impractical pieces of furniture that were placed within houses purely for show.
Many outstanding examples of the Victorian indulgence for fantasy antique furniture still remain today and dealerships in Preston, Lancashire, Cumbria and across the UK will be happy to act as guide through the many influences of these pieces.
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